The police in Bulgaria have confirmed the rape and murder of investigative journalist, Viktoria Marinova.
Her body was found in a park in the northern city of Ruse, near the River Danube, on Saturday.
Interior Minister, Mladen Marinov, confirmed she had also been raped.
“With enormous pain and insurmountable grief the team of TVN television is experiencing the loss of our beloved colleague, Victoria Marinova,” TVN said in a statement. “Therefore we ask for sympathy for the sorrow of relatives and colleagues. A bow in her memory!”
It is not known if the killing is linked to the 30-year-old’s work at a local television station, TVN. An investigation is looking into her personal and professional life.
Her death immediately drew international condemnation.
The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Bulgarian authorities to conduct a “rigorous, thorough investigation” into the killing.
“CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Victoria Marinova,” said CPJ European Union Representative Tom Gibson in Brussels. “Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible.”
“Shocked by horrific murder of investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria,” tweeted Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation. Those responsible must be held to account.”
Ms Marinova was a presenter on a recently-relaunched current affairs talk programme called “Detector” for TVN.
Its first episode featured an interview with two Bulgarian investigative journalists exploring alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to businessmen and politicians. The pair, Attila Biro and Dimitar Stoyanov, were arrested in September while looking into the case.
She is the third high-profile journalist to be killed in the European Union in the past year, and the fourth since the start of 2017.